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Financial risk-taking and trait emotional intelligence

Alessandro Bucciol (Department of Economics, University of Verona Faculty of Economics, Verona, Italy)
Federico Guerrero (Department of Economics, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, Nevada, USA)
Dimitra Papadovasilaki (Department of Economics, Business, Finance, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois, USA)

Review of Behavioral Finance

ISSN: 1940-5979

Article publication date: 29 May 2020

Issue publication date: 1 July 2021




The purpose of this paper is to study the relationship between financial risk-taking and trait emotional intelligence (EI).


An incentivized online survey was conducted to collect the data, including measurements for cognitive ability and socio-demographic characteristics.


There is a positive correlation between trait EI and financial risk-taking that is at least as large as that between risk-taking and measures of cognitive control (CRT). Trait EI is a key determinant of risk-taking. However, not all components of trait EI play an identical role. In fact, we observe positive effects of well-being, mainly driven by males and sociability. Self-control seems to matter only for males.

Research implications/limitations

This study suffers from the bias of self-reported answers, a common limitation of all survey studies.

Practical implications

This evidence provides a noncognitive explanation for the typically observed heterogeneity of financial risk-taking, in addition to more established explanations linked to cognitive skills. Investor profiles should be also determined on their trait EI.

Social implications

Governments should start programs meant to improve the level of trait EI to ameliorate individual wealth outcomes. Female investors participation in the financial markets might increase by fostering their sociability.


The relationship between trait EI and each of its components with financial risk-taking is vastly unexplored, while it is the first time that gender effects are discussed in that set up.



The authors the Lake Forest College student, Enrique Salonga, the department of Economics, Business and Finance at Lake Forest College, and especially Rob Lemke, AJ Felkey, Cassie Batz-Barbarich, Jeff Sundberg, as well as the Cement Workshop participants, Joy Buchanan, Jakina Debnam, Fulya Ersoy, Li Qi, and Yang Song, for their helpful comments and feedback.

Declarations of interest: none.


Bucciol, A., Guerrero, F. and Papadovasilaki, D. (2021), "Financial risk-taking and trait emotional intelligence", Review of Behavioral Finance, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 259-275.



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